The Rams continued their run of ineptitude against the Redskins Sunday, looking outmatched in every facet of the game. They don’t appear concerned or passionate that they are the biggest joke in the National Football league and there isn’t much hope from the first four weeks to show they will turn it around. Dropped balls, sacks and blown defensive assignments are the norm for this team, fooling so many of us in Rams Nation that thought they were turning a corner.
Here’s a look at RamsHerd’s grades for the game:
As I wrote last week, Rams fans have to quit considering Bradford to be invincible and start recognizing he has faults. However, his pass protection is exposing him to David Carr and Marc Bulger-like levels and the receivers can’t catch a cold this point so he gets a break on the grade. Bradford was under 50 percent on his completion percentage for the game, but still managed 164 yards and a nice touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that was too little, too late. He had some nice throws after he was beaten all afternoon but is still overthrowing some receivers and has balls knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
Running back: D
I think it’s finally time to proclaim Steven Jackson as an aging running back that is slowing down a bit. I know he is dealing with lingering injuries and I love/respect his effort, but he isn’t the same player like earlier in his career that could put the team on his back for a victory. He had only 45 yards today with an awful 2.6 yards per carry average, although he did make a nice play in the passing game for the Rams’ only touchdown. The offensive line didn’t do him any favors today but the Rams need more from him and the backups to wear down opposing defenses.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: F
Everyone in the pass catching core was a joke today, chalking up an unofficial total of eight drops. They messed up routes and dropped huge passes that sealed the Rams fate early. Mike Sims-Walker had three drops alone, killing drives and showed why the Jaguars were so willing to let him walk. Lance Kendricks dropped a sure touchdown in the end zone and looks like he might never shake his “rookie nervousness”. Danario Alexander led the team with 46 yards, but how sad is it when your leading receiver can’t even manage 50 yards in the NFL? The lone bright spot was Austin Pettis, who had a few clutch catches for third down conversions. The front office should be ashamed of themselves for not addressing this more in the offseason and Bradford won’t develop fully until they get a guy that can hold onto the ball.
Offensive Line: Z-
I know Z isn’t on the grade scale, but I thought this was fitting for how horrendous, awful and disgusting the offensive line played today. There was no push in the run game we have seen in the last few weeks and they were pushed around by Barry Cofield constantly. Jason Smith was at the root of some usual bonehead mistakes and I think is absolutely in bust territory at this point. Most disturbingly was how they let Bradford become a human piñata. They allowed SEVEN sacks and were abused by Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and the worst of them all, Adam Carriker, who was a former first round pick in St. Louis. If I was Sam Bradford, I’d consider increasing my life insurance coverage because these guys are on the verge of getting him killed.
Defensive line and Linebackers: D-
The defensive line was supposed to be a positive on this team but they are continuously beaten off the ball and don’t do anything to pressure the quarterback. Chris Long had only two tackles and the team had ZERO sacks against Rex Grossman. Ryan Torain had 135 yards rushing and a touchdown, exposing the 32nd rated Rams run defense again and again. The only thing carrying this grade up from an F was James Laurinatis’ interception late in the fourth quarter.
The secondary held up decently against the Redskins, limiting Grossman to 143 yards and only one touchdown. However, they also let receivers expose their zone coverage on several occasions, letting Washington convert several important third down plays. Justin King had a huge interception, but was also on the losing end of Santana Moss’ touchdown. Darian Stewart made some nice plays and had tackles along with Bradley Fletcher who had seven. This is still a gigantic area of need though and I’m worried that the Rams may actually need to rely on Rod Hood to play a significant role sooner rather than later in coverage.
Special Teams: C
Austin Pettis was killed on several attempted punt returns as he failed to signal a fair catch and was annihilated consistently by the Redskins coverage team. Josh Brown had a field goal and Donnie Jones had a good punt to pin Washington deep in the fourth quarter but nothing to write home about.
The Rams need to take a hard look at who they want to be for the rest of this season and hopefully it isn’t the league’s punching bag. Fans are running out of patience and are turning on a team they expected so much more from. If they continue to be a pathetic, apathetic mess, heads will roll and the season will be lost.